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Business paying more for health coverage

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WASHINGTON, Nov 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- An insurance industry trade group said premiums U.S. employers paid for health coverage for their workers increased by 10 percent to 20 percent this year.

The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers' semi-annual benefits survey found while the cost of health insurance continues to rise for all companies, more than half of smaller employers and two-thirds of medium-size businesses that responded found premiums up to 20 percent higher during the past six months than they were at the beginning of the year.

Thirty percent of large employers, with 501 or more employees, had premium increases of from 1 percent to 10 percent and 40 percent said they were paying up to 20 percent more.

Many employers are responding to the increases by raising co-pays, premiums and deductibles for employees, which has made the benefit too expensive for some lower-income workers. The U.S. Census Bureau said in its most recent report this was part of the reason why an additional 5 million Americans were uninsured in 2003.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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